Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino insists on 'new project' at club next season
LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino came close to issuing an ultimatum to Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy by calling for the club to dramatically change approach.
Pochettino called on Spurs to "create a different idea" and said the club needed to be "brave and take risks" in order to challenge for the top honours next season.
It was a surprising change of tone from the Spurs manager, who just a fortnight ago insisted the club would continue with the current project for the foreseeable future -- with or without him at the helm.
Spurs have a net spend of just £50 million in the four years since Pochettino joined the club from Southampton and their wage bill is closer in size to Burnley's than rivals Arsenal's. But, on the pitch, they have continued to compete against the big-spending Manchester clubs as well as Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Speaking for the final time in a season in which Spurs have secured a third consecutive top-three finish but saw their trophy drought extend to a decade, Pochettino feels now is the time for the club to change tack.
"We need to talk a lot between us and the club," Pochettino said after the season finale against Leicester, which Spurs won 5-4 thanks to doubles from Harry Kane and Erik Lamela, and a Christian Fuchs own goal.
"They have a clear idea of what we need to do and I don't know if the club will agree with me or not, but we need to talk next week to create the new project.
"That's up to Daniel and the club. After four years, we need to assess that period and try to be contenders and win big, big trophies. We need to review things. It has been fantastic all we have achieved, but it will be so important to create again and create a different idea to try to move on and to be closer to winning titles in the next few years.
"First of all, I need to speak to Daniel. Until today, [it] was so difficult to talk about future. Now we need to decide the way to operate in the future."
Spurs will move into their new 61,500-capacity stadium for the start of next season after playing for the final time at Wembley, their temporary home, against the Foxes on Sunday.
Pochettino continued: "The club always want to win but it is not easy to find a way that you can be close to winning. It is so important to move to the new stadium, the new facilities are unbelievable but we will also be closer to winning.
"It is so important to have the next objective to explain and show we can be ambitious. But sometimes we need to work in a different way. Our fans need to know what we are doing and our fans need to feel the reality of club.
"We need to tell the truth and we need to create an expectation you can achieve. You cannot create dreams thinking that we cannot achieve [them]. We need to create dreams that are possible to achieve. Of course, the ambition of the club would be to win.
"And maybe now we are a bit disappointed and frustrated as we're close. That's the first thing, being close and challenge the big clubs who invest more than us. We need to try and find a way. We cannot think we are the cleverest people in the world winning trophies spending small money. We need to think our reality is different.
"We cannot invest crazy money. We need to feel we are a special club. When you create that feeling, anything can happen in football. We need to deliver the best way to try and win in different ways.
"I think Daniel is going to listen, of course. You know me, I have crazy ideas. You need to be brave. In this situation, you need to be brave and take risks. It is the moment the club need to take risks. We need to work harder than the previous season to be competitive again. Today the Premier League is a tough competition. You can see not only the big clubs but the clubs behind us -- West Ham, Leicester, Everton -- are working so hard to be close to the top-six clubs. I'm sure Daniel will listen to me and we will create together."
Asked if he would remain at Tottenham regardless of the outcome of the talks with Levy and the club, Pochettino said his future was not up to him.
"In football, you never know," he replied. "Today 100 percent, I feel like I'm here but the most important thing is tomorrow all can change. It is not in my hands. It is not my decision to be here or not, it depends on my boss. It is healthy for ourselves and the club to think you can lose your job tomorrow.
"You need to give your best and always you have to work with these fears you can lose your job if you are not professional and don't work 12 hours a day. Professionals do many things and [have to] be responsible about the situation. Today, yes, 100 percent.
"Maybe I'm talking too much after 10 months [of] competition," he added. "Maybe I should breathe. Don't take this in [a] negative way, this always happens at the end of the season at all clubs, the manager speaks to owners, sporting director and chief executive to analyse the season and thinking how to improve."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.